...even when it may not make sense to outsiders.

Last week at Ford's big future trends event, Forward with Ford*, I expected to find a lot of auto and tech writers and opinion leaders. After all, Ford's been getting a lot of buzz about its product line and its innovative use of technology like SYNC. I admit I wondered why I was invited, even if I did just finish a story for the Cinematographers Guild on the history of the car chase (coming soon to this website).

What I didn't expect was a slew of people covering lifestyle, design, sustainability, including mommy bloggers, 50+ women bloggers and, wait for it, pet bloggers. And yet, here we all were. But then I considered the sessions differently and found a solid hook for each category.

Ford's folks know that our vehicles are more than just modes of transport and supporters of our egos. They know many people, mommy bloggers especially, are concerned with mobile technology and driving (great article here from Car & Driver) and driving comfort and assistance for the aging baby boomers, hence the 50+ contingent (look at this cool suit they use to simulate older drivers). They know sustainable design is important to more and more drivers and decision-makers. And they know more people are traveling by car with their pets. And they let us choose the sessions we wanted to assure higher relevance and satisfaction among attendees. Game. Set. Match.

But bringing together this disparate group didn't just help Ford reach out to new categories of media. It provided further proof to those of us in attendance that Ford is thinking differently than some of its counterparts.

That's a lot of benefit from the small but important act knowing your audience.

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This is why we work so hard to help our clients focus on the people they're trying to reach when they design content and communications across the enterprise. When you think about your audience -- the obvious ones and others that can be highly influential -- from the get-go, you're going to get a better return on your investment.

Read all our posts on knowing your audience here.

* Read more about my experience at Ford with Ford here and here.